Murray makes short of work of Isner to keep his No.1 hopes alive
ANDY MURRAY cruised past John Isner in straight sets in the Erste Bank Open quarter-finals to keep alive his quest to be the world No.1.
The Scot encountered few difficulties in a 6-1, 6-3 success over Isner in Vienna as the big American battled a hand injury during the 74 minutes the pair were on court.
Murray now faces defending champion David Ferrer in the final four on Saturday knowing a tournament victory in Austria, coupled with a success at next week’s Masters event in Paris would see him reach the peak of the rankings for the first time, as long as incumbent Novak Djokovic does not reach the final in France.
The top seed in Austria was given an early taste of 6ft 10in Isner’s greatest weapon as he delivered two aces from the first pair of points, though the fact he then had to save two break points suggested Murray would be afforded opportunities.
More break-point chances duly arrived and Murray, using the court’s depth to make Isner stoop to uncomfortable positions, claimed them to race to the first set in 27 minutes.
It was sealed by an unforced Isner error, his 20th of the set to Murray’s one, and the 31-year-old complained about his grip as he took his seat between games.
The trainer was called for and he taped over a blister on Isner’s right palm, though Murray reeled off the first three games of the second set and was eyeing an early finish.
Isner finally won a game and pumped up the crowd in relief, then tested Murray’s own serve by going 0-40 up before the Scot dug deep to stave off the threat.
Murray will have been pleased to progress more routinely this time.
Meanwhile, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska booked a lastfour meeting with world No.1 Angelique Kerber in the WTA finals. TODAY
Premier League, Sunderland v Arsenal - Sky Sports 1 1130, Crystal Palace v Liverpool - BT Sport 1 1700; Championship, Blackburn v Wolves - Sky Sports 1 1715; National League, Barrow v Eastleigh - BT Sport 1 1145; Ladbrokes Premiership, Aberdeen v Celtic - Sky Sports 5 1130; LaLiga, Sporting Gijon v Sevilla and Barcelona v Granada - Sky Sports 2 1155 and 1930; Serie A, Juventus v Napoli - BT Sport 2 1930; Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund v Schalke - BT Sport 2 1715; Eredivisie, Ajax v Excelsior - Sky Sports 3 1935; A-League, Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC - BT Sport 1 0730, Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners - BT Sport 2 0945; Welsh Premier League, Aberystwyth Town v Airbus UK Broughton - S4C 1700.
Second Test, Bangladesh v England - Sky Sports 2 0600 and 0345 (Sun); one-day international, India v New Zealand - Sky Sports 4 0900.
Four Nations, England v New Zealand - BBC One 1315.
Premiership, Saracens v Leicester Tigers - BT Sport 2 1430; PRO12, Ospreys v Newport-Gwent Dragons - Sky Sports 2 1430 and S4C 1445, Leinster v Connacht - Sky Sports 2 1700; Top 14, Bayonne v Racing 92 - Sky Sports 5 1940.
Formula One, Mexico Grand Prix practice - Sky Sports F1 1545 and Channel 4 1555, Mexico Grand Prix qualifying - Sky Sports F1 1800, Channel 4 1800 and eir Sport 1 1900.
ATP, Erste Bank Open - Sky Sports 3 1330.
WGC-HSBC Champions - Sky Sports 4 0600 and 0300 (Sun).
Six Day London - Eurosport 1 1930. MLB, World Series game four - BT Sport 1 0010 (Sun). MotoGP, Malaysia Grand Prix warm-ups - BT Sport 2 0130 (Sun); World Superbikes, Doha - Eurosport 2 1515. European Championship - ITV4 1245 and 1900, eir Sport 1 1235 and 2200. International Ch’ship - Eurosport 1 0700 and 1230. Men’s Asian Champions Trophy, semi-finals one and two - BT Sport/ESPN 1130 and 1330. Horse racing - Channel 4 1310. Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova knew that whoever emerged victorious in their group-stage clash in Singapore would advance to face Kerber on Saturday – and it was the former who triumphed 7-5 6-3.
In the earlier game Garbine Muguruza defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6 6-0 6-1 – though Muguruza had lost her opening two group matches and had been eliminated while Kuznetsova had already sealed a last-four match with Dominika Cibulkova. TOMORROW
Premier League, Everton v West Ham followed by Southampton v Chelsea - Sky Sports 1 1230 and 1330; Championship, Birmingham v Aston Villa - Sky Sports 2 1130; LaLiga, Eibar v Villarreal - Sky Sports 3 1055, Athletic Bilbao v Osasuna - Sky Sports 4 1510, Real Betis v Espanyol followed by Las Palmas v Celta Vigo - Sky Sports 2 1725 and 1940; Serie A, Atalanta v Genoa followed by Sampdoria v Inter Milan - BT Sport 2 1130 and 1930; Bundesliga, Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin followed by Cologne v Hamburg - BT Sport 2 1415 and 1630; A-League, Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory - BT Sport/ESPN 0600; MLS, four matches TBC - Sky Sports 5 1900, 2100, 2300 and 0130 (Mon).
Second Test, Bangladesh v England - Sky Sports 2 0600 and 0345 (Mon).
Formula One, Mexico Grand Prix - Sky Sports F1 1730, Channel 4 1800, eir Sport 1 1855; WRC, Wales Rally GB - BT Sport 1 0900 and 1200, Channel 5 1150.
Premiership, Exeter Chiefs v Bath - BT Sport 1 1430; Championship, London Scottish v London Irish - Sky Sports 2 1445; Top 14, Brive v Clermont Auvergne - Sky Sports 5 1510.
ATP, Erste Bank Open - Sky Sports 5 1245.
WGC-HSBC Champions - Sky Sports 4 0600.
Six Day London - Eurosport 1 1700.
MotoGP, Malaysia Grand Prix - BT Sport 2 0645; World Superbikes, Doha - Eurosport 2 1600.
MLB, World Series game five - BT Sport 1 0000 (Mon).
NFL, Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Redskins followed by two matches TBC, followed by Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles - Sky Sports 3 1300, 1730, 2100 and 0100 (Mon).
NBA, Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz - BT Sport 1 2030.
European Championship - eir Sport 1 1145, ITV4 1245 and 1900.
International Championship - Eurosport 1 0600 and 1130.
Men’s Asian Champions Trophy, third-place play-off followed by final - BT Sport/ESPN 1030 and 1230.